Melbury Road

I had to walk down Melbury Road in Kensington today, which always puts a spring in my step, since the great film director Michael Powell lived there for some years, at number 8. The garden of the house, and some interiors, were used for the “home video” sequences in Powell’s late (1960) low-budget horror film Peeping Tom; number 5, now redeveloped, stood in for the house of the film’s killer, Mark Lewis. Peeping Tom, of course, was written by Leo Marks, the former SoE cryptographer, and was reviled on release; it got some of the most hostile reviews seen in British cinema history. It’s now regarded as a revolutionary exploration of the relationship between director, camera, and audience, of the voyeuristic nature of the cinematic gaze. It is both significant and shocking. It was so far ahead of its time that it wasn’t shown on television until 1997, and Powell never worked in the UK again.

The photo is from She Blogged By Night: lots of intriguing photographs of film locations, and is used with thanks.


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